Samsung can start testing self-driving cars in California

Some of Samsung’s competition.
Some of Samsung’s competition.
Image: AP Photo/Eric Risberg
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Samsung, the global electronics manufacturer that makes everything from TVs, phones, and washing machines, to container ships and oil rigs, seems to be trying its hand at cars that drive themselves. The company was awarded a license in the state of California to test autonomous vehicles today, Aug. 31.

In a statement, the company said: “As a global leader in connectivity, memory, and sensor technology, Samsung Electronics looks forward to participating in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program and joining in the pursuit of a smarter, safer transportation future. While we have no plans to enter the car-manufacturing business, we are excited to help develop and deliver the next generation of automotive innovation.”

The company recently acquired Harman, however, a company that builds electronics and audio equipment for connected cars, among other things—in Samsung’s press release about the purchase, it said that “smart technologies” from Samsung and Harman “will enable the vehicle of tomorrow.”

The California motor vehicle department told Quartz that the license had been awarded to Samsung Semiconductor, the company’s computer-chip division, and covers three vehicles—a 2010 Toyota Prius and two Audi A3 e-tron cars—along with seven drivers. (Samsung has also been approved to test self-driving Hyundai cars in Korea for the last few months.) Samsung joins other technology and automotive giants, as well as a few startups, testing on the roads of California, including Alphabet’s Waymo, Tesla, Ford, GM, Apple, and BMW.

Including Samsung, nine additional companies have been granted a license since we last checked in when Apple’s license was awarded in April. Here’s the full list of companies that can currently test self-driving cars in California:

  • Volkswagen Group of America
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Waymo
  • Delphi Automotive
  • Tesla Motors
  • Bosch
  • Nissan
  • GM Cruise LLC
  • BMW
  • Honda
  • Ford
  • Zoox, Inc.
  •, Inc.
  • Faraday & Future Inc.
  • Baidu USA LLC
  • Wheego Electric Cars Inc.
  • Valeo North America, Inc.
  • NextEV USA, Inc.
  • Telenav, Inc.
  • NVIDIA Corporation
  • AutoX Technologies Inc
  • Subaru
  • Udacity, Inc
  • Navya Inc.
  • UATC LLC (Uber)
  • PlusAi Inc
  • Nuro, Inc
  • CarOne LLC
  • Apple Inc.
  • Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation
  • Pony.AI
  • TuSimple
  • Jingchi Corp
  • SAIC Innovation Center, LLC
  • Almotive Inc
  • Aurora Innovation
  • Nullmax
  • Samsung Electronics